Monday, February 24, 2014

Diversity on the Federal Bench

This week's Diversity Week activities include a panel on "Diversity on the Bench" Wed. at 4:00. To complement that, this post offers a couple of resources specifically about federal judges.

1. FJC biographical database

The Federal Judicial Center's Biographical Directory of Federal Judges 1789 to the Present enables researchers to sort by race, gender, date nominated, and more. Here's a quick numerical overview of diversity on the federal bench:

Men    Women    Whites    Nonwhites*   

* Search categories include African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, and White. The Nonwhite column is the difference between the total for a time span and the White count. With a little time, one could create a much more elaborate table, but this gives you a flavor of what the database can do as well as the changing face of the federal judiciary.

2. Video profiles

The United States Courts website includes Pathways to the Bench, short videos in which "individual judges talk about the personal, character-building challenges in their lives that prepared them to serve on the bench." You'll "meet" judges with physical disabilities (polio, MS), judges of color, and a judge who was born in a European refugee camp after World War II.

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